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Mob Menagerie: Horse

A wild mob that makes us all giddy

Can you imagine if there were cars in Minecraft? It’d be awful. Players would be getting hit by them all the time, server owners would cover the game’s beautiful landscapes with roads, and every house would need to be at least twice as large so that it could accommodate a garage to store the car in. Instead, Minecraft has a much better way of getting around at high speeds – the horse. So we’re crowning these noble steeds our mob of the month!

Weirdly, despite saddles being added to the game in 2010, horses didn’t officially arrive until the appropriately named Horse Update in July 2013. It was possible to add horses to the Java Edition of the game before that, though, with the Mo’ Creatures mod – and those horses served as the basis for the ones in the game.

Horses like to hang out in plains and savannas, where there’s plenty of space to spot and flee from predators. They’re social creatures by nature – you’ll usually find them in a small herd that encompasses two to six individuals, a few of which will often be young foals. Horses can also often be found in villages. 

You’ll quickly notice that horses come in many different combinations of colour and marking. There are 35 combinations in all – colours include white, creamy, chestnut, brown, dark brown, gray and black, while possible markings include white stockings, a white field, white spots, and black dots. Some horses have no markings at all.

To tame one, walk up to it slowly and then climb aboard with the use key. It’ll probably throw you off, but try and try again and eventually, it’ll be persuaded. You can speed up the process by feeding the creature. You can then throw a saddle on, and you’re good to go. 

Horses can be bred together, using golden apples or golden carrots, and they can also be fed sugar, wheat, and apples to heal damage. Different horses have different health, movement speed, and jump height, so it’s worth maintaining a whole stable for different needs.

In the real world, humans have been riding horses for about 6,000 years, and the first rider most likely lived somewhere in central Asia. The earliest archaeological evidence for horse riding comes from sites in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, but within a couple of thousand years, the practice seems to have become widespread across the continent.

Today, we don’t ride horses as much as we used to before cars were invented. Nonetheless, there are still estimated to be at least 60 million horses in the world today, most of which are in the Americas. They’re used in sports, agriculture, policing, entertainment, and medicine, among other areas. In 2004, an Animal Planet poll of 50,000 people in 73 countries voted horses as their fourth favorite animal – beaten only by tigers, dogs, and dolphins (I voted for silverfish, but they didn’t place). 

Have you successfully harnessed a horse in Minecraft? If not, then get to it – it’s the game’s mane attraction, after all!

Duncan Geere
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Duncan Geere
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